Switching to EKOenergy for Otava was easy

Last year, the whole Otava Group switched to EKOenergy. This means that all ‘Suomalainen Kirjakauppa’ bookstores now use EKOenergy-certified electricity. Otava is the second largest publishing house in Finland, and their printing house also uses EKOenergy.

Many think that switching to eco-labelled electricity is a difficult and complex thing to do in a company with many premises, like Otava. However, Otava’s CSR manager Wilhelm Ehrnrooth explains that it was actually a very smooth process:

„The process went surprisingly fast, even though we have a lot of decentralized activities. Our electricity supplier contacts us once a year and will tell us if there have been any big changes on the markets of the Guarantees of Origin, which proof the green origin of our electricity”

Large consumers usually purchase their electricity and their guarantees of origin separately. For sales of Guarantees of Origin, there are specialised companies. These specialised companies can also help large consumers switch to EKOenergy, without any need to review every single electricity contract of the buyer.

At first, many executives at Otava assumed that eco-labelled electricity would be expensive. After comparing prices from different sellers, it became clear that the cost is actually very reasonable.

According to Otava’s CSR manager Wilhelm Ehrnrooth, sustainability criteria for electricity are in line with Otava’s core values. Picture: Marja Viskari
According to Otava’s CSR manager Wilhelm Ehrnrooth, sustainability criteria for electricity are in line with Otava’s core values. Picture: Marja Viskari

Solar panels and EKOenergy

For Otava, switching to EKOenergy was part of a comprehensive solution, which also includes its own power generation. In summer 2015 the company installed solar panels on its Esterinportti building. Otava received 30% of the cost of installing these panels as investment aid from the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy.

Now a small part of their electricity demand is produced by their own panels. The rest is covered by EKOenergy certified grid electricity. This combination of green energy purchase and the production of own electricity are becoming more common both in Finland and abroad.

Such a package is interesting for companies. When they are demonstrating their dedication to clean energy by producing their own green electricity, it doesn’t make sense that they would be satisfied with getting their remaining electricity from a non-environmentally friendly source.

In the case of Otava, apart from environmental friendliness, the local aspect was important.

“Not only did we want to buy eco-labelled electricity, we explicitly wanted to buy Finnish eco-labelled electricity.”

Communication about EKOenergy

Within the Otava group, different departments have their own marketing strategies and these have started to use EKOenergy in different ways.

The largest amount of published books are printed in the Keuruu print shop. After the switch to EKOenergy, it was easy to add the EKOenergy logo to the books to tell the readers about the publisher’s choice for green electricity.

At the entrance of Otava’s offices, there are stickers demonstrating about the choice for EKOenergy. Additionally, there is information about EKOenergy on Otava’s website, and from time to time they tell about EKOenergy in their other communication channels.

The choice for EKOenergy is a simple ‘climate act’

Ehrnrooth explains that for Otava, the transition to green energy was mainly a question of ethics: the Group wants to support Finnish, sustainable energy as well as the transition to a more sustainable way of using energy. EKOenergy is an obvious and simple way to do so.

“When companies tender electricity, the price is one of the criteria. But we hope that companies will also set other criteria. Our values are corporate responsibility, quality, courage and proximity. We try to reflect these values more and more in all our activities.”

Ehrnrooth hopes that corporate social responsibility will become an automatic reflex in all activities of all companies.

­“It’s always good to just get started. And switching to EKOenergy is easy. It’s obvious to focus on electricity. We all need electricity today. Why not choose the most environmentally friendly? And if the marketing people are alert, this also offers nice opportunities for positive communication”.

For more information:

Wilhelm Ehrnrooth
CSR responsible
Otava Oy
040 73 00 997
wilhelm.ehrnrooth (a) otava.fi

Posted on 20 June 2016